Held in Abu Dhabi, the IDEX defense exhibition is traditionally the platform for the United Arab Emirates to announce major deals. But apart from a possible buy of Predator UAVs and an H-60 upgrade (see separate stories), there was nothing on the UAE’s big-ticket items at last week’s event. Even the much-anticipated deal for the THAAD high-altitude air defense system has not been finalized.
CAE’s new 3000-series helicopter simulator brings an extraordinary amount of realism into what is essentially a computer-driven replica of a Eurocopter AS350B2 cockpit capable of simulating a variety of real-world training experiences. With the Tropos-6000 visual display projecting the view outside the cockpit onto screens that wrap around the cockpit’s chin windows, flying the simulator seems extremely close to a real helicopter.
The European Commission ruled that AgustaWestland must repay a €25 million military subsidy it received from the Italian government in 1998 for the AW139 medium helicopter and BA609 tiltrotor programs as they are civil, not military, aircraft.
Offshore oil and gas helicopter company CHC is selling its training operations to Montreal-based CAE for an undisclosed price. The deal includes the transfer of 32 employees, four simulators and two training facilities to CAE as well as the ongoing training of 1,000 CHC pilots and another 1,000 maintenance personnel. The acquired training facilities–in Aberdeen, Scotland and Stavanger, Norway–will also be used to train non-CHC customers.
After a protracted and controversial procurement process, the Maryland State Police signed a deal last month to purchase six new AgustaWestland AW139s.
Heliportugal and Groupe SAF, two Portuguese and French operators that quietly merged in 2008, are announcing a common name and expansion plans. Now called United Helicopter Services (UHS), the company operates 63 aircraft, including 59 helicopters, and has a 300-strong workforce, of which 100 are pilots. Annual revenues are said to be close to €70 million ($98 million) and flight hours are about 30,000 annually.
Six AgustaWestland AW139s will be delivered to Panama’s Aeronaval Service as part of a bilateral anti-crime agreement focused on international drug trafficking and organized crime negotiated between Italy and Panama earlier this year.
The FAA, EASA and Transport Canada approved Goodrich's rotor-blade ice-protection system (Rips) for the AgustaWestland AW139 medium twin, the Charlotte, N.C.-based aircraft systems supplier announced yesterday. Rips is a key part of the full ice-protection system and bestows all-weather capability on the AW139, making it the first helicopter in its category certified for flight into known-icing conditions.
AgustaWestland revealed yet another new helicopter yesterday in Farnborough– the twin-engine, 4.5-metric ton AW169. Nestling between the GrandNew and AW139 in the company’s product line, the AW169 (shown here as a mockup) is aimed primarily at the government, parapublic and commercial markets, offering an eight- to 10-seat cabin that can be rapidly reconfigured for a variety of roles.